23 July 2013

( floating along in beautiful waters with schuylkill river outdoors )

by jennifer hetrick
since the summer of 2009, water-ready folks have had the opportunity to float down the schuylkill river in douglassville through the hardworking warm weather efforts of pat turner and her family. today, their labors involve helping locals—and even those visiting from out of state sometimes—to shimmy a slow pace along the river’s surface by single tube, double tube, raft, party float, or kayak.

and turner found this a likable choice of a business endeavor after having worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 15 years, becoming laid off with about 600 others several years ago. so turning toward the river as a form of livelihood while bringing something recreational and nature-sly served as a welcome change of pace from her former career.

turner had a neighbor who had run a tubing business in the past, and recalling his conversations about it, knew it might be a unique community-geared calling, especially given that it helps people to stop their racing minds for a bit to instead appreciate the beautiful and lesser-seen view of riverbanks and our area from the middle of the schuylkill river. too often, people only see the landscape from the road or from one side of the river to the other. or not at all.

turner and her children erica, zach, and daemon blaszczyk are a part of schuylkill river outdoors, running the operation together when weather conditions cooperate. the early months of summer so far this year have been quite a challenge, as the nearly constant rain and higher river water make it difficult to safely allow people to venture their way down the river when they’re anxious to get their float on.

( photo courtesy of schuylkill river outdoors )

one of the funniest details about running this water-hugging business is that the most common answer people give to saying how they found out about schuylkill river outdoors is that they saw it advertised on a placemat in some restaurant. but turner and her family have never once done advertising on any placemats in any restaurants. “we always sort of shrug and smile,” turner says about how she and her family react after hearing the placemat relation. and then they move on with getting their guests to the river’s edge, but not before some routine safety instructions and smarts for navigating their float well and problem-free.

schuylkill river outdoors sits on 17 acres, with 16 of it wooded and the rest as the parking area, office, picnic grove, and where equipment is kept.

their main offering is a three-and-a-half mile float down the river, which normally lasts about three hours, at a floating rate of one mile per hour.

turner says that one couple told her spending time on the river away from the stress of their lives at home and with work literally saved their relationship, which is quite the compliment but speaks something very strongly in showing how time separate from modern norms and instead closer to nature’s whimsical gifts can bring a much needed balance into the lives of people today. getting away from the ieverything culture of daily buzzing is something floating down the schuylkill river makes easily opportune. we all need to slow down and float on, nowadays.

“you get a whole new perspective on the river,” turner adds. “out there, it forces you to have no phones or computers in front of you, and instead, you’re forced into talking to each other.” but many of those who venture out onto the water see how beneficial and needed time like this is, with no technology-savvy screens in front of them for three hours straight. and then family and friends connect again, mid-floating.

“the water calms you down. the stress just goes, and it even brings your heart rate down,” she says. “the water soothes.”

the idea of water carrying a healing effect fits well in here then, too. and its influences are quite poignant with some, as turner and her family have seen people head out onto the water in a grumpy mood. but but by the time they are picked up in the business’ school bus a few miles away, they’re positive and happy.

visit www.schuylkillriveroutdoors.com to learn more, and look for coupons on rates, too.